Making Sense of the Sacred: The Meaning of World Religions

Making Sense of the Sacred: The Meaning of World Religions

by James L. Rowell


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What is the overarching meaning of the world's religions? Textbooks relay what the religions believe and leave it at that. But the more puzzling questions—Which of them is true? How do all viewpoints fit together or challenge one another?—are left unaddressed. Like an unfinished puzzle, the myriad religions present themselves to us as countless pieces, but their relationship to each other and ultimate importance escape us. Can the religions of the world really agree on anything or fit into a common narrative or singular image?

This work argues that despite the disagreements and contradictions among world religions, a universal message can be found by studying them with care. It offers a comprehensive examination of religions and their meaning, uniquely bound by the hope and affirmation that in some way they are universally connected. It affirms a universalism by wisdom, which contends that a moral and spiritual wisdom can be found in many of the world's religions. Understood and interpreted properly, religions can help all people lead good and meaningful lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506468082
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 05/18/2021
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

James L. Rowell is associate professor of religion at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. He holds a PhD in religious studies from the University of Pittsburgh. He has authored articles in Theology Today, Journal of Political Theology, and Journal of Conflict Studies. His first book, Gandhi and Bin Laden: Religion at the Extremes, was published by University Press of America in 2009.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Religious Trilemma: The Puzzling Choice 11

2 Religious Trilemma: Making the Right Choice 23

3 Judaism 37

4 Christianity 55

5 Islam 73

6 Zoroastrianism and the Abrahamic Faiths 95

7 Hinduism 107

8 Buddhism 129

9 Jainism 149

10 Sikhism 161

11 East Asian Religions 181

Conclusion: Universalism and the Religious Puzzle 197

Bibliography 209

Index 217

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